I can't separate the two different cases of using 'would' in this situation:

> "Oh no!" I said, and that's when I couldn't hold it in anymore.  Everything that had just happened kind of hit me and I couldn't help it: I  started to cry. Like big crying, what Mom would call "the waterworks."

I hesitate between seeing this as a repeated action or an imaginary situation.
Could I get any help? 

> If Mom was here right now, she would call it 'the waterworks'


> When I was younger, I used to cry. Mom would call my crying 'the waterworks'

I'm having a lot of trouble with 'would' now and I don't have clue how natives understand it immediately by the context.  Why does it mean what it actually means in this case? Where is the clue?